11-year-old called ‘little hero’ for actions after fatal Dawson Co. crash

O’DONNELL, Texas — Multiple West Texas first responder agencies presented an 11-year-girl with the Hero Award on Monday for her lifesaving actions after a Dawson County crash.

According to O’Donnell Volunteer Fire Department Chief Willie Villareal, the agencies involved in the presentation include the Lynn County Sheriff’s Office, Dawson County Sheriff’s Officer, O’Donnell Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services from Lynn County and Dawson County.

Chief Villareal said Ariyana, the daughter of Jennifer Duran, 31, was one of the five children involved in a car crash near Lamesa on Saturday, August 5, that claimed Jennifer’s life.

“When we started talking to that little girl she was telling us what happened…and what she did. It prompted us to do something special for her,” said Chief Villarreal.

According to Villareal, Ariyana managed to crawl from the wreckage and find a phone to call 911.

“I was a little worried because she was a little girl. But that’s kind of what we do for work,” said a Lamesa dispatcher, who answered Ariyana’s call for help. “Now that I’m a mom, like it hits a little bit different.”

Villareal said the crash occurred “in the middle of nowhere,” and Ariyana saved her siblings’ lives, calling her “a little hero.” Villareal also said Ariyana’s main concern was the status of her brothers and sisters. According to DPS, four of the five children were taken to Lubbock hospitals in critical condition. The youngest child, a 5-month-old baby girl, was not injured.

The award presentation will place at the O’Donnell Firehouse, and the two dispatchers who helped Ariyana that night will present the award.

In addition to the award, Ariyana and her family will receive a check for $300 to help purchase school supplies and clothes.